The Icla da Silva Foundation goes the ‘extra mile’ to ensure that another life is saved.
Young Herzel was inspired to become a nurse after surviving thyroid cancer in 2017. The remarkable care that she received as a patient impacted her greatly, and she enrolled in nursing school with a desire to help others.
But while preparing for her exam to become a Certified Dialysis Nurse, Herzel was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
A bone marrow transplant was her only chance for a cure, and there were no matching donors for her on the registry.
Finding a Donor
The bone marrow transplant team at New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center acted fast to test her brother Reggie back in the Philippines as a potential donor.
Luckily, he was a 100% match.
However, this fantastic news still presented a barrier.
Herzel is a smart, hard-working young woman. Although she was unable to maintain her employment during so many visits and treatments at the hospital, she kept her living expenses low and paid her bills on time.
But the expense to bring her brother to the U.S., so he could transplant his stem cells, was unaffordable at the moment. Her savings had already been depleted.
She didn’t know what to do. Her doctors wanted to schedule the transplant as soon as possible.
No organization was able to fund international travel for her donor.
A social worker at New York-Presbyterian contacted the Icla da Silva Foundation. After gathering and organizing the necessary paperwork, and thanks to the generous supporters of the Foundation, not only did we provide the funds, we made the flight reservations.
Within days, this life-threatening financial barrier was removed and Herzl’s brother arrived in New York for the donation. The transplant was successful and Reggie saved his sister’s life. They spent a few days together before he returned home to the Philippines.
The gift of life that Herzel received only strengthened her desire to help others.
She passed her nursing exams and recently began working for the NYC Department of Health. Herzel is thankful for the support that she received and has applied to Volunteer for the Icla da Silva Foundation.
We asked Herzel what she would say to the donors who made her brother’s trip possible.
“I want to thank everyone for giving me this opportunity to live a healthy life again. I couldn’t be any more grateful for the Icla da Silva Foundation. I want to help the Foundation as much as I can so other patients like me can have the same opportunity for life.”
You can help us support more patients like Herzel. Your donation will remove barriers for patients needing a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.
Your donation will save lives.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchWhen She Said, “This Patient Was Relying on Me!” We Knew Exactly What She Meant
This February, Mayra Lopez received a strange text message. It read, “You might be a match, it’s important that you call us.”
Mayra had almost forgotten that she joined the Be the Match registry three years ago, back in February of 2019.
She included herself as a potential donor after being recruited by her sister Karla, a former employee of the Icla da Silva Foundation.
When asked why she joined, Mayra told us that her sister explained how rare it was to find a donor within the Hispanic community.
“Life is so fragile, and I will do whatever I can for my community.”
When Mayra called back after receiving the text, the only information she was given about the patient was that he was a 22-year-old male, and probably of Hispanic descent.
After hearing that, she knew he didn’t have a choice, and neither did she.
“This patient was relying on me!”
She couldn’t just ignore this patient…Mayra said yes to donating her blood stem cells.
We asked her about the donation process. She said she was surprised at how easy it was. “It was so much easier than I expected. No pain, nothing. It took about 4 hours and I napped most of the time.”
In the hours between having breakfast and lunch at the hospital, Mayra saved the life of someone she did not know by donating her blood stem cells.
When we asked what she thought about that, Mayra insisted, “it was a once in a lifetime opportunity”. She told us, “I was excited because something good was happening. A life was saved…it’s a beautiful thing.”
We thanked Mayra for saving a life and explained how the Icla da Silva Foundation had recently expanded our mission to provide emotional, logistical, and financial support to remove barriers to treatment.
We told Mayra, “Just like you, so many patients are relying on us”. She let us know that she understood, and she was excited by our cause. “Resources are limited, and so many people are afraid to put themselves out there. Thanks for everything you do.”
Thank you, Mayra. Thanks for your support, and thank you for saving someone’s life.
Together we can make a difference for patients in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. Together we will save more lives.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchOne-Year-Old Boy Receives His Life-Saving Transplant
We were able to remove several barriers during his journey to a cure.
John was diagnosed with leukemia as a 2-month-old baby.
Obviously, his parents were concerned. They needed help understanding all the information about options and challenges. They weren’t sure what to expect or how to navigate the process.
They wanted the details in plain language.
The Icla da Silva Foundation helped John’s family overcome their first barrier.
With so much time traveling to receive treatments, and with so many tests and appointments scheduled, it was impossible for them to keep a regular work schedule. The family had a hard time making ends meet.
This was their second barrier.
Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to provide funding to assist John’s family with housing needs.
By removing this barrier, his family was able to focus on treatment.
We are happy to report that John recently received a cord blood transplant. His body has accepted the new cells.
We wish this little boy a happy, healthy life; a life that every child deserves.
Our supporters played an important role to ensure that another life was saved.
If you haven’t donated recently, please consider making a gift to help more patient families like John and his parents.
Together, we will continue to make a difference.
Written by: Bret Itskowitch
Join Us for Something Different – A Virtual Wine Tasting with Live Music
We invite you to a truly unique experience! We are launching our first ever Virtual Music and Wine Tasting event.
This event combines three wines from around the world, pairs them with luxurious cheeses and sweet treats, and presents them live via a video link with world-class musicians and storied curation.
The evening promises to be extraordinary!
Join us on Thursday, June 16 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM (Eastern Time) *Your Package must be ordered by May 16, 2022.
There are two packages available:
Package #1 – receive 3 bottles of wine, paired with cheeses and sweets mailed to your home. This package is all-inclusive and accommodates 2-4 people. Log on and enjoy the live tasting with us.
Package #2 – receive the list of hand-selected wines, along with the recommended cheeses and sweet treats, and purchase the items locally. Invite some friends to your tasting, then log on and enjoy live music and curation while supporting our mission.
This tasting is made possible and hosted by our Board Member, Kala Maxym, the founder of Five Senses Tasting.
Proceeds will help us remove barriers for patients in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.
Join us for an interesting evening of music, wine, and curation while supporting the mission of the Icla da Silva Foundation.
Click the link for more information.
Together we will make a difference.
Thank you to our sponsor.
Fulfilling Katie’s Barrier to Treatment
We received a heartfelt message from a blood cancer patient last week. It read simply, “You are the answer to my prayer.”
The message was sent to us by Katie. She is a single mom, diagnosed with leukemia whose only cure is a bone marrow transplant.
For 29 years, we have supported patients who require a bone marrow transplant. We are very familiar with the challenges and barriers to receiving a life–saving transplant. It usually begins with the search for a matching donor.
Katie already had a matching donor, and she was ready for her transplant. But the transplant team would not schedule her until she could make arrangements for a Caregiver. A Caregiver was required to assist her for an extended period after the transplant.
Katie’s insurance, like most, did not cover the expense of a Caregiver.
This was Katie’s barrier.
She has been unable to work since her diagnosis and she required a little support. Fortunately, the Icla da Silva Foundation provided Katie with the financial support she needed to arrange for a Caregiver.
Katie is scheduled to receive her transplant.
The Icla da Silva Foundation helps patients in need of a bone marrow transplant by removing barriers. We do this by providing emotional, logistical, and critical financial support. Our goal is to ensure that more patients will receive their transplants.
For patients demonstrating financial need, we help with expenses that usually aren’t covered by insurance and often prohibit treatment. These include transportation, temporary housing, and caregiver expenses while in treatment.
You can help us save more lives! Consider making a financial donation to support our mission. Together we will help more patients and save more lives.
make a donation
If you are a patient waiting for a bone marrow transplant, and in need of support, please submit a request
submit a request
Thanks for reading.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchExpanding Our Mission: Removing Barriers to Treatment
Expanding Our Mission: Removing Barriers
We recently expanded our life-saving mission to put greater focus on removing barriers to treatment. For the past 29 years, the Icla da Silva Foundation has helped patients in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant by recruiting potential donors. In 2022, we are focused on providing emotional, logistical, and financial support for more patients in need of a bone marrow transplant.
For patients demonstrating financial need, our IclaCares program is awarding grants that are specific to the needs of transplant patients.
⇒ We are helping more patients receive their transplants.
The Icla da Silva Foundation saves lives of patients with diseases whose only cure is a bone marrow or cord blood transplant by providing emotional, logistical, and financial support to remove barriers to treatment.
A life-threatening disease, like blood cancer or sickle cell, is never expected. It presents an unthinkable challenge to the entire family. As a result, the Icla da Silva Foundation has always provided patients and their families with necessary emotional and logistical support. But for patients who demonstrate a financial need, we are putting a greater focus on enabling financial assistance.
IclaCares – Removing Barriers
Even after a matching bone marrow donor is found, there are many costs associated with a transplant that aren’t covered by insurance. For many patients, transplants and treatments are not available close to home. Through our IclaCares program, we are helping more patients afford expenses like transportation to a specialty medical center, housing, and even family meals while a child is in treatment.
We are also assisting with caretaker expenses. A caretaker is required by most transplant teams but rarely covered by insurance providers.
⇒ We are making it easier for more patients to receive their transplants.
You can help us support more patients in need. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation using the button below. Thank you!
MAKE A DONATION
Are you a patient scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant? Are you in need of support? Please click our patient registration and submit a request.
Together we are helping more patients and saving more lives.
Miguel’s Dilemma – How Icla Restored Hope
Miguel began to lose hope when his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. The Icla da Silva Foundation offered to help his family through our Icla Cares program. Watch Miguel share his heartfelt perspective in the video below.
We were first introduced to Miguel and his family through a social worker. His 5-year-old daughter Marieangel had just been diagnosed with leukemia. Like most parents of a child diagnosed with blood cancer, Miguel was lost and confused.
He didn’t know what to do.
We sat down with Miguel to answer all of his questions and explain the process. We reviewed the next steps in plain language. We let him know what to expect and how we could help.
Marieangle received months of chemo treatment and her leukemia went into remission.
Unfortunately, during Covid-19, her leukemia relapsed. At the same time, Miguel lost his construction job.
What is a hardworking family supposed to do? How will they continue to pay the bills while their young daughter is in treatment and waiting for a bone marrow transplant?
How Icla Restored Hope
Miguel began to lose hope. He had nowhere else to turn. The Icla da Silva Foundation offered to help his family. We assured him that we would be there for support throughout his daughter’s treatment.
While financial assistance removes the constant stress of how to pay the bills, providing information and support to Miguel was more important to him. We gave him knowledge and helped him understand. By providing emotional support, he felt more encouraged. He knew that we were here for him, and he recognized the valuable role he played in his daughter’s treatment.
As a result, he regained hope. Miguel rejoined the fight for his daughter’s survival.
Watch this short video – Listen to Miguel share his heartfelt story.
Support Icla Cares
You can help us assist more patient families like Miguel. With your financial donation, we provide emotional, logistical, and financial support to patients suffering from blood cancers and sickle cell disease. These needs are critical.
Please consider making a financial gift and supporting our lifesaving mission.
Thanks for reading/watching.
Written by: Bret ItskowitchDo You Remember Mya?
Thanks to supporters like you, we were able to help Mya and her family during a very difficult time.
Eight-year-old Ne’Mya spent so much time in the hospital during treatment for T-cell leukemia that her mother Nekisha couldn’t work. Nekisha had to be with her daughter. She had to be there for blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and spinal treatments.
Of course, this led to financial challenges. Paying the utilities was difficult. Just filling up the car with gas was a struggle.
The Icla da Silva Foundation was able to support Mya and her family both emotionally and financially.
We were able to do this because of you.
Thank you for your support. Thank you for helping us provide a small grant so Mya’s family could focus on her treatment.
Please consider helping us support more patients like Mya.
Help us save more lives.
make a donationDo You Remember Alfredo?
Even though a donor hasn’t been found, Alfredo is still smiling.
He is the little boy from Chicago with a rare blood disorder. We have been helping him search for a matching blood stem cell donor.
He has been searching the registry for 5 years.
We recently ran a Facebook campaign about Alfredo and many people expressed an interest in helping.
Almost 200 people signed up online to become potential donors.
Although he still hasn’t found a matching donor, Alfredo seems to be doing OK. He was excited to go back to school, he started the 4th grade in September.
Would you be interested in helping us support more patients like Alfredo? Even the smallest donation will help blood cancer patients during their search and treatment.
Your gift gives patients and their families more hope for a positive outcome. It allows them to focus on treatment rather than bills.
Please support the Icla da Silva Foundation and our mission to save more lives.
HELP US SUPPORT MORE PATIENTS
A Life-Saving Journey from the Dominican Republic
It required a coordinated effort of logistics, financial assistance, and of course emotional support to create this life-saving journey.
You may remember a young patient we worked with named Victor Garcia. At the age of 9, Victor was diagnosed with acute biphenotypic leukemia (BAL), a rare form of leukemia. He was being treated at a hospital in his home country of the Dominican Republic. His doctor determined that the only cure for Victor was a bone marrow transplant from a matching donor.
But there was no matching donor on the registry.
Since siblings represent the best chance for a match, the Icla da Silva Foundation was able to fund HLA testing for his 7-tear-old sister Neyyleyn.
We were happy to find out that Neyyleyn was a 100% match for her brother Victor. But unfortunately, the local hospital did not have the resources to perform the transplant.
Emotional, Logistical, and Financial Support
The Icla da Silva Foundation went into overdrive. We supported Victors’ family and helped coordinate his transplant under a clinical trial at Yale New Haven Teaching Hospital in Connecticut. Our team worked the logistics between the family, the doctors, and the consulates from both countries, assuring that Victor would be able to receive a life-saving transplant.
Thanks to financial support from donors like you, we were also able to fund transportation for the Garcia’s to the United States, while the Ronald McDonald House graciously provided housing.
It took many steps and multiple partners, but a little boy’s life was saved. The Icla da Silva Foundation is both proud and happy to have played a critical role.
Victor is doing well, he is back home in the Dominican Republic; going to school and playing baseball.
You can help us create more life-saving stories like Victors. Please consider a financial contribution to our Icla Cares program.
Written by: Bret Itskowitch